Top 5 Reasons Your Friends Scatter When You’re Looking for a Job

It’s a hard knock world out there. If we’re being honest, it’s a simple fact that a majority of the hottest job and networking sites today are based off of mining your relationships for connections, recommendations, and insider knowledge of job openings and resources.

However, for all the talk of social networks and the buddy system, you’ve learned either from the get-go or from experience that you can’t rely on your friends to get you into a company or tell you about new grad jobs. Now, why is that? You would think that your friends, those who are in your peer group and know you the best, would have your back. If they’ve been your buddy through thick and thin, they should at the very least be able to provide you with a solid recommendation. They also have the perfect connections to help you land that elusive new entry level job. However, sometimes even your closest pal won’t be willing or able to extend their help — and here are five good reasons why.

1. They Don’t Want the Competition

On top of being the most obvious reason, the threat of competition is one of the strongest motivations behind why your friends have a tendency to get scarce when you’re job-hunting. Top fears include the risk of recommending someone who doesn’t end up working out or even worse, embarrassing your friend in front of their new manager or boss. Another nightmare scenario that haunts your already employed buddies is the possibility of you turning out to be a better hire than they are and bypassing them on the career ladder.

2. They Don’t Get Word of New Jobs

Many companies don’t advertise their new positions very well in-house, especially to those in entry-level positions. You’re more likely to find out by browsing new jobs at an online job board.

3. They’re Bashful

Whether they’re new on the job, don’t have the social capital to spare or just genuinely hate interacting with Human Resources or hiring managers, they just may not want to take on an additional burden to get you hired. If they’ve barely had time to prove themselves at their own first job, they aren’t likely to want to endanger their position or use what little leverage they’ve earned.

4. They Like You Only As a Friend

Social friendships are vastly different than the relationships built between business co-workers. They may be able to tolerate (and even make fun) of your cute quirks off the job, but when there is a tight deadline or a major project due, they may find those idiosyncrasies of yours completely unbearable on the job. TLDR; They enjoy hanging with you but you don’t want to work with you.

5. They Hate Their Job

“It’s not you, it’s me.” Here’s one of the last top reasons why your friend might not want to refer you. Ever consider that they may not like their employer? Who knows, they could be doing you a huge favor by keeping you out of a toxic environment or a dead-end position. Before you make judgments about why your friend won’t vouch for you, consider that they don’t want to shaft you by recommending a position in a bad environment or situation where you both could get stuck.

The takeaway here is that there are a myriad of reasons and complicated issues behind asking your friends for job referrals. What you thought was an easy no-brainer move may actually be a loaded request.

Instead of trying to get unwilling friends to pass along job positions or give you a reference, we recommend taking matters into your own hands so there’s no room for misunderstanding.

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